Mount Pleasant, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 6 February, 2008 – The Sukari gold project – the first large-scale, modern gold mine to be developed in Egypt – has recorded another substantial JORC compliant resource upgrade as it moves towards its production target date before the end of 2008.
In its quarterly report for the quarter ended 31 December 2007, Centamin Egypt Limited (Centamin) – the Australian company which holds the only mining licence for gold or precious metals in Egypt – reveals that the Sukari resource now stands at 11.16 Moz. This comprises 7.46 Moz measured and indicated plus 3.7 Moz inferred at a 0.5g/t cut-off grade. This means the measured and indicated mineral resource – which accounts for 67% of the total resource – has increased by 9% since the last upgrade in September 2007.
Total mineral reserves at Sukari are estimated at 78Mt of ore at an average grade of 1.5 g/t Au for 3.7M contained ounces of gold. A further 374Mt of waste material will also be mined.
The Sukari Project has been scheduled for open pit mining over an initial 15 year period, which is to be followed by a 6-year period of treating low grade stockpiles. It will produce 200 000 oz pa at first, but is expected to ramp up production after the first three years.
The project is 100% fully funded through to gold production, currently forecast to be in quarter four this calendar year. “As a result,” the quarterly report reveals, “Centamin no longer needs to pursue debt financing, has no debt, no hedging, and at 31 December 2007, had a cash balance of US$226 million (R1.7 billion).” The project will cost an estimated US$220 million (R1.6 billion).
Meanwhile a construction update on the Sukari project – which is located in the Eastern Desert of Egypt – shows that work is well underway on the 700-man construction camp, site works, tailings storage facility and project engineering and design, all of which are scheduled for completion in Q2 of 2008. The seawater pipeline and mining pre-strip are due to be ready by Q3, and commissioning and production is scheduled for Q4.